Grilled Mozzarella and Red Peppers Sandwich

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This sandwich screams FRESHNESS, as it is made with fresh mozzarella, fresh basil pesto and oven roasted red sweet bell peppers drizzled balsamic vinegar. With layers of flavor, it is the perfect sandwich for a Meatless Monday lunch option.

Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 red sweet bell pepper
1 Fresh Mozzarella Cheese Ball
2 slices of Provolone Cheese
4 slices Italian bread
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Vegetable cooking spray

For the Fresh Basil Pesto:
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt, more to taste
freshly ground black pepper, more to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 500° F .

Place the red bell peppers on a rimmed backing sheet. Lightly coat the peppers with the vegetable spray and place in the heated oven. Allow the peppers to roast for about 15 to 20 minutes. Rotate it at about the 7 minute mark and remove when all sides have charred black. Remove the peppers from the oven and allow them to cool. When the red peppers have cooled to the touch, remove the charred skin by using a clean tea towel. Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds, then julienne the roasted peppers.

Using a sharp knife, thinly slice six pieces of cheese from the mozzarella ball.

To prepare the pesto spread: Pulse basil and pine nuts in a food processor: Place the basil leaves and pine nuts into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a several times.

Add the garlic and Parmesan or Romano cheese and pulse several times more. Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.

While the food processor is running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady small stream. Adding the olive oil slowly, while the processor is running, will help it emulsify and help keep the olive oil from separating. Occasionally stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor. Stir in salt and freshly ground black pepper, add more to taste. cover and set aside.

Set the oven to 450 ° F.

Take 4 slices of Italian bread and spread the pesto on one side.

Lay a slice of provolone ontop of the pesto.

Take one slice and with the pesto side up and layer with the julienned red pepper first.

Use a brush and lightly coat the top of the red pepper with 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar.

Add three slices of Mozzarella cheese ontop of the peppers and close the with another bread slice. The pesto side should be touching the mozzarella. Repeat the process for the second sandwich.

Heat a cast iron skillet on medium high. Melt the butter until it is lightly foaming. Gently place the sandwiches in the melted butter.

Fry the sandwiches for about 2 to 4 minutes on medium heat, as it the bread become golden brown. Using spatula flip the sandwich over until the bread is crispy and golden brown, for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Continue to cook the sandwiches in the oven, by placing the skillet sandwich in the oven for about 5 to 7 minutes. Cook until the cheese is melted and slightly oozing from the bread. Remove from the oven.

Using a spatula, place a sandwich on a plate and serve immediately.

 

 

Cook’s Note:
Basil pesto oxidizes (darkens) when exposed to air, so to store, cover tightly with plastic wrap making sure the plastic is touching the top of the pesto and not allowing the pesto to have contact with air, making a complete seal. The pesto will stay greener longer that way. The pest will keep for about 2 weeks.

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Grilled Cheese & Bacon Sandwiches with Cheese Curds

Cheese Curd Grilled Cheese. JoeBeef_FW_Oct2011
Photo Credit: Fredrika Stjärne, Food&Wine Magazine, 2011.

 

 

Cheese curds are small chunks of just-made cheese that haven’t been pressed into a shape. They’re milky and delicious in a grilled cheese sandwich like this one, which is spread with Joe Beef’s signature “chicken glace mayo,” made at the restaurant with chicken stock that Morin says has been “reduced to oblivion.” He suggests substituting beef bouillon to replicate his uniquely savory mayonnaise.

By Frédéric Morin
Food & Wine Magazine
October 2011

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1/2 beef bouillon cube
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Sriracha
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
12 slices of bacon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
8 slices of white sandwich bread
1/2 pound sharp cheddar, cut into 4 slices
1 cup cheddar cheese curds

Directions:
In a small bowl, crush the bouillon cube into 2 teaspoons of hot water until dissolved. Whisk in the mayonnaise and Sriracha and season with salt and pepper.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion, cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, in another skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat, turning once, until crisp, 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Set a griddle over 2 burners and turn the heat to moderate. Butter the bread slices on 1 side. Spread the other side of 4 bread slices with the spicy mayonnaise and top with the onion, cheddar, cheese curds and bacon. Close the sandwiches buttered side out and griddle over moderately low heat until crisp, about 4 minutes per side. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve.

Cook’s Notes:
Cheese curds are available at specialty food shops and cheese shops.


Grilled Ham and Cheese with Strawberry-Red-Wine Jam

 

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The secret to Chris Kronner’s delectable sandwiches is the jam spiked with Pinot Noir. Kronner got the idea when he was helping Elisabeth Prueitt test jam recipes while they drank wine.

 

Adapted from Chris Kronner
Food & Wine
April 2010

Serves 4

Ingredients:
Eight 1/4-inch-thick slices of brioche
1/2 cup strawberry jam mixed with 2 tablespoons of Pinot Noir
8 thin slices of baked ham
8 thin slices of Gruyère cheese
Softened unsalted butter

Directions:
Heat a large griddle. Spread 4 of the brioche slices with the jam. Top each slice of bread with 2 slices of the ham and 2 slices of the Gruyère and close the sandwiches. Lightly butter the outside of the sandwiches and fry the sandwiches over moderate heat until toasted and the cheese is melted, 2 minutes per side. Cut in half and serve right away.